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This Book Contains Graphic Language: Comics as Literature

3.32  ·  Rating Details ·  56 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews
<span style="font-style: italic;">This Book Contains Graphic Language</span> looks at different literary forms and genres—including journalism, fiction, memoirs, and film—in relation to their comic book counterparts. By demonstrating the ways in which comic books (and graphic novels) both reflect upon, and expand the boundaries ...more
Paperback, 248 pages
Published December 15th 2007 by Bloomsbury Academic
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Sue Thornquist
Aug 30, 2014 Sue Thornquist rated it liked it
More like a 3.5. The writing is first-rate, very enjoyable with a personal style--often anecdotal, conversational--and very articulate. I am not too familiar with many of the examples Rocco (and yes I can call him that b/c he's a former student of mine, one with whom I've kept in touch!)uses but it made me want to check them out. I was using the text as a reference for teaching American Born Chinese in my h.s. Honors English class and Stitches in my Film course, and it wasn't as instructive from ...more
This is a decent if unspectacular apologia for comics. The title makes Versaci's thesis clear, but for anyone who missed it, he's careful to repeat rather more than necessary that "comics can do x and medium y can't, therefore comics have literary merit." It's not exactly a deep argument, and one can quarrel with the necessity of even making it, I think; do comics have to be "literature" any more than, say, film (one of his other comparators) does, in order to have artistic merit? The thesis occ ...more
Feb 19, 2008 Robin rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: anyone who wants to learn about comics
Recommended to Robin by: read blurb in catalog
Shelves: 2008-list
2/19/07 This is a title I got from the Continuum catalog at NY Comic Con last year and it just came to me today after being processed.
3/5/08 Just finished reading this during Homework Center duty and while I ate dinner. The first chapter and the last chapter were very helpful with my upcoming presentation. Some of the middle stuff about comics and war, for example, didn't interest me as much because I am not familiar with the comics he refers to but the section on GN memoirs was fascinating and
May 22, 2010 Jennifer rated it liked it
I'll confess, I was hoping for more discussion of superhero comics. >_< Which makes me feel guilty, because the book's clearly-stated intention is to argue that comics are capable of being literature like any other form of expression. Thus the author spends a great deal of time on Love and Rockets, Maus, and Ghost World and other similar Serious Graphic Novels. Thus, an interesting and illuminating read--just not quite what I was in the mood for at the moment.
Sep 10, 2014 Rebecca rated it liked it
I enjoyed this. It's definitely not a light read, but it is a thought-provoking one. There were times I sort of felt hit over the head by Versaci's thesis (okay, I get it, comics are literature, comics can do things text-based works can't), but the argument he makes is relevant and important. I also have a whole new list of types of comics I had never been exposed to and that I'm curious to find more about, so that's a success, too.
Aug 03, 2012 secondwomn rated it really liked it
Shelves: library, 2012, graphic
probably really a 3.5, but i'm ok with bumping this one up slightly. accessible academic writing about comics compared to an array of topics (memoir, film, literature). a bit repetitive (i get it, comics do things that "prose only can't do"), but the examples are well chosen and illustrated and versaci's mix of popular and lesser-known works is refreshing.
Feb 22, 2016 Alice rated it it was amazing
I previously took a class on the literacy of sequential art. I saw this at the library and picked it up. I like how it explains the benefits and unique communication style of sequential art. It explains that this is not a lesser medium, but a different medium. Good read for an academic book.
Aug 12, 2012 David rated it really liked it
A powerful exploration of the literary merit of graphic novels.
Adam Bessie
Mar 15, 2009 Adam Bessie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic-novels
Very thorough job of demonstrating comics as a legit art form.
Aleta Fera
May 31, 2014 Aleta Fera rated it did not like it
This book should have been a homerun for me, as I like lit and comics. Stopped reading halfway through the first he manages to make comics boring takes a special talent.
May 15, 2011 Kaisha rated it liked it
This is an interesting scholarly monograph on the importance and impact of comic books/graphic novels, highly recomend it to anyone who has even a passing interest these.
Henrik Harbin
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I'm an English professor at Palomar College, which is near San Diego. Since 1997, I've taught composition, creative writing, and literature (mainly contemporary American & comics/graphic novels). My first book, "This Book Contains Graphic Language: Comics as Literature," came out in 2007. I'm also a two-time cancer survivor, and in 2010 I rode my bicycle across the country (San Diego to North ...more
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